Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Most people are unaware of the dirty secrets that go on behind the scenes in pharmacies. Most of us trust our pharmacies and take for granted that they don’t make mistakes. But this is a dangerous assumption. One dirty secret: Pharmacies rely heavily on pharmacy technicians to fill your prescriptions, not pharmacists. The pharmacist’s job is to double-check the technician’s work. Most states don’t require more than a high school diploma before hiring pharmacy technicians.
You shouldn’t have to double check your prescriptions at the pharmacy, but with the system in place today you have no choice but to watch out for your own safety. The following news stories show the tragedies caused when pharmacies make mistakes. 1. Walgreens prescription errors One prescription error case from 2003 involved Beth Hippely, a mother of three, who died after taking a prescription that had incorrect dosage instructions on it. The 19-year-old pharmacy technician admitted in court that she had mistyped the dosage of the blood thinner Warfarin to ten milligrams instead of the intended one milligram dosage. A Florida appeals court upheld the $25.8 million judgment against Walgreens. 2. CVS prescription errors After Gwen Dalley picked up her antibiotic prescription Flagyl at a local CVS pharmacy she took three doses daily, as indicated. Dalley, a school bus driver in Georgia, was in the middle of a shift with a busload of kids when she began feeling dizzy; she had to pull over and radio to another driver to complete her route. She later discovered that her prescription had been incorrectly filled with both Flagyl and Trazodone, an antidepressant with a black box warning of increased suicidal thoughts. Dalley settled her case with CVS confidentially. 3. Rite-Aid Prescription mistake A woman in Alabama was awarded $2.5 million in damages after a pharmacist at a Rite-Aid misfilled her pain prescription for rheumatoid arthritis with a steroid, Decadron, prescribed for cancer treatments. Reva Tosh was taking nearly seven times the regular dosage of the steroid for nearly a month,. The lawsuit claimed after taking the drug she developed Cushing’s syndrome, a gland disorder that caused her several physical and mental injuries, and had to use a wheelchair. Tosh was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. 4. Safeway Prescription mistake Mareena Silver was six weeks pregnant when she went to a Safeway to fill a prescription for an antibiotic. The pharmacist allegedly mixed up her prescription with a similar-sounding name – Maria Silva. Instead of her antibiotic, Silver received the wrong prescription, which was methotrexate - a drug for cancer treatments.
Kennedy Hodges, LLP helps individuals who have suffered serious injury due to prescription and pharmacy errors across the country, including distributing wrong medications, administering the wrong dosage, and failure to provide medication warnings and instructions.